A Special Q&A with Kimberly Williams and Morgan Newman of Team Cervivor
Tell us about yourself. Why did you go into social work?
Kimberly: “My name is Kimberly Williams. I’m a social services worker from the greater Houston, Texas area with over 20 years of experience in the social services field as a social services worker, mentor, manager, and director emphasizing in the fair treatment, work ethic, and services provided to Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities and Related Conditions. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice-Law Enforcement, a Master’s Degree of Management, and Master’s Degree of Healthcare Management. Through this experience and work with diverse populations, I work to reduce inequality gaps, ensure fair treatment, and appropriate follow-up and access to care.
Watching my parents throughout my youth I believe helped me settle into a career in social services. Although my father passed away when I was 11 years old, I watched as he was a volunteer for the United Way. I learned the importance of community, volunteering, and people being heard, understood, and helped. My daddy would and did put himself in dangerous situations to help others. My mother instilled in me that no one should be treated differently regardless of their skin color, abilities, etc. Their examples helped frame my desire to give in meaningful ways.”
Morgan: “I’m Morgan Newman and I’m a social worker located in the heart of the Midwest in Des Moines, Iowa! I’m fairly new to the social work field graduating with my Master’s degree in May of 2021 and spent most of my young adult career as a chairside dental assistant and office manager in two offices. Before that, I started working at 14 at a small ice cream shop progressing into daycare, working the front desk at a fitness center, being a barista at a coffee shop, retail, and student services.
I wanted to do something more meaningful in life. I was a dental assistant for only a few years when I knew I didn’t want to be in the field for the rest of my life. After going to therapy for the first time in my life at 23, I found my calling: a way to help others and give back to social issues like mental health. I would say that I’ve always had the urge to do this kind of work from a young age but I wasn’t sure how to articulate it. I never knew what a social worker was until I met one who inspired me to follow my dreams.”
How does the work in this organization fit your professional mission or experience?
Kimberly: “Cervivor fits me personally because I am Cervivor – I’m a cervical cancer survivor and thriver. Professionally I’ve been employed in the social services field for over 20 years working with Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities and Related conditions, their caretakers and service providers. Working in that capacity professionally has shown me how to work with people from all walks of life. Working with Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities teaches you that everyone has a voice, sometimes not audible but necessary, their voice, their thoughts, and their existence matters. I believe the Cervivor organization matches my mission which is to ensure that every voice is heard and understood.”
Morgan: “While I was back in school taking every social work, psychology, and sociology I could, I was diagnosed with cervical cancer my second semester back. My niche changed several times – from mental health to criminal justice and so forth. I knew when I was diagnosed with a metastatic recurrence to my lungs, my calling was going to be something cancer-related. Social work helped me process through the trauma I had experienced – putting words to feelings I didn’t know I was experiencing. It helped me heal and empowered me to be an advocate for others.
My instructor, Dr. Sandra McGee encouraged me to think outside the box because you could do anything as a Master in Social Work. So I dreamed about it and I grew with this Cervivor organization during my Bachelor’s and Master’s program to be where I am today. I am living the Cervivor mission statement of supporting and empowering others impacted by cervical cancer. We do that through our private group, programming, and so much more!”
What is your favorite part about your job?
Kimberly: “Learning from different people, the nuggets that you can receive from people can last you a lifetime.”
Morgan: “I am able to live in my values through the work I do with Cervivor and I get to work with people I admire. Our community works as an amazing team and we continue to empower and support each other through all the tough times but we also know how to celebrate the good times too!”
What do you look forward to seeing in the organization?
Kimberly: “I look forward to the organization expanding our footprint with diverse populations to aid in the mission of eliminating HPV-related cancers and spreading knowledge of these cancers worldwide.”
Morgan: “Witnessing the commitment of other organizations and leading professionals to end cervical cancer and seeing it put into action over the next several years. Ending cervical cancer is something we all want to see in our lifetime.”